Professor Catharine Lumby, guest contributor to The View From Fez, embarked on a trip around Morocco and discovered there was much more to the country than the persistent clichés
Morocco. As a friend of mine said in an ironic Facebook post: ‘Give my love to the Beat poets’. That, of course, is the clichéd image of the country for Westerners. Tangier for the lit lovers. Casablanca for those who’ve only watched one classic movie. And desert. Lots of it.
That is not the Morocco I briefly discovered – and fell in love with. I had the privilege of seeing the country through the eyes of one of my oldest friends. Suzanna and I went to high school together and it was extraordinary to have the opportunity to stay with her, her husband Sandy and their young son in their beautiful riad in Fez.
Even more amazing was the trip Suzanna took my mother Judy and myself on over the Atlas mountains. A road trip that very few tourists bother to – or dare to – take. My Lonely Planet guide was full of warnings about ‘dangerous roads’.
They didn’t stop Suzanna. She drove us up and down hairy mountain passes and we got to see unimaginable vistas. I’m still struggling to describe the radical beauty and the diversity of the topography.
|Professor Catharine Lumby (right) with Suzanna Clarke|
The real Morocco can’t be found in the three major cities. It’s there in the cracks – the twists and turns of small towns and souks. In the amazing kasbahs set into precipitous mountain sides. In the quotidian smiles and greetings and roadside meals of a journey through the country. When you leave the major towns and take a real road trip, Morocco opens itself up to you. It has a warm and large heart, as I discovered. I will be returning.
|Professor Judy Lumby|
In the meantime, if you go, please think about taking a road trip across country. Fez to Marrakesh changed my life. Get advice on finding a good driver – you cant have Suzanna (she’s mine). But do it. You won't see the real Morocco any other way.
Professor Catharine Lumby is Director of the Journalism and Media Research at the University of New South Wales. She travelled Morocco with her mother, Professor Judy Lumby, A.M. and writer and photographer Suzanna Clarke, who is Features editor for The View From Fez.